Medieval Mash-up #3: The Border Blunder

I dove into the new year with a major round of ripping, but here I am on January 4. 

My tapestry is a mash-up of patterns from several medieval billedvev pieces.  The bottom border I chose was adapted from this “Wise and Foolish Virgins” tapestry owned by the National Museum in Norway.

I’ll call this border the “people triangle” border. Doesn’t it look like a row of small people with arms reaching up? It didn’t work out well.

I chose to weave five of the bottom triangles along 24″ of my piece. I divided out the width along the bottom and drew in the design freehand. I did that because part of the charm the old tapestries is their imperfection. If you look at the border above, you’ll see that the designs are almost the same, but not completely.

As I began to weave my border, I realized a few problems.

1. The angles of the lines in the design did not  neatly match up with my warp sett–I couldn’t make an angle by just stepping over one thread with each pass, or two. It was difficult to come up with a regular combination of steps to make a smooth line at the desired angle.


2. The scale made it difficult. The same design on a much bigger piece would have been easier to weave–if each of the motifs was larger. I was curious about how large with original “people triangles” were, but no size was given in the record for the old tapestry.

3. The rest of the tapestry turns out to look very bright, with crisp lines and a geometric feel, compared to the fussier, more detailed people triangle border.

I woke on New Years Eve, thinking I needed to make a decision. It would be a pain to take out the section of border already woven, and weave in a new border, especially since the border met the center section with a long line of square joints. I would have to put in that color with a needle. Grrr.

I would have nailed the weaving of this border by the time I finished the sixth triangle, but I just didn’t want to do it.

Breakfast done, decision made.  Time to find a new border. I wanted a plainer, bolder geometric design, and decided on the border of this cushion cover, found in a compilation of old pieces compiled by Henrik Grosch.

I took out the border section I disliked.

It took and hour and ten minutes to take out.

I got to work and began the new pattern. Note the needle needed to weave in-between the empty spaces along the center section.

My steady progress has been partly due to determination, but also to my husband’s recurring cold. I was sitting at the loom when I heard the fireworks celebrating the beginning of 2020. I hope to keep up my pace, but also have a healthy household! Next up, patterned clothing.



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